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Abstract

Associations between self-report symptom profiles for nicotine withdrawal, personality (TPQ, EPQ-R), life-time history of psychopathology and smoking history were examined in data obtained from 553 female adult Australian twins (246 regular smokers), aged 32-48 years, who had participated in a telephone interview survey that included life-time assessments of smoking history, nicotine dependence and symptoms of withdrawal. Two hundred and two respondents were from high-risk pairs where either the respondent or the respondent's co-twin had reported a life-time history of alcohol dependence; 351 were from control pairs. Latent class analysis was used to identify subtypes (‘classes’) of smokers reporting similar withdrawal symptom profiles. Three major classes were identified which appeared to represent a continuum from mild to severe nicotine withdrawal. Smokers from the severe withdrawal class were best characterized by hands shaking and by the prominence of depressive features. There mere marked increases in life-time alcohol dependence rates as a function of severity class. In contrast, significantly elevated rates of major depression, conduct disorder and anxiety disorder were observed only among smokers from the most severe withdrawal class. Neuroticism was the only personality factor strongly associated with the development of withdrawal symptoms.